The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Falls

    12
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Giardia

    8
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Robbed

    13
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Groped

    9
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Burns

    4
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1